A New Japan

Fukushima Farmer Takes Life

A farmer in Fukushima kills himself when told that he can’t sell his cabbage crop for fears of contamination.

A very sad item (in Japanese) in the Asahi this morning. A 64-year-old cabbage farmer from Fukushima has killed himself, apparently after being told by the government that he wouldn’t be able to sell his crop because of fears of contamination from the nearby Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant. The man had been a highly dedicated farmer, growing a prized organic cabbage. For years, he’d been particularly careful about keeping toxic chemicals out of his cabbages, because they were consumed by elementary school children. The farmer had lost his home and storage facility in the quake, but he had preserved his crop and was keen to sell it. His family makes it clear they blame ‘nuclear power.’

It’s yet another dimension to the tragedy unfolding in Japan, and a hint of the problems that await TEPCO.

Meanwhile, in another item involving cabbages, thieves in Saga prefecture have reportedly made off with 1200 heads of cabbage. I guess it was a matter of time before we saw a crack in the astonishingly orderly Japanese response to this crisis, but who would have thought it would be over something like this?

James Pach is the publisher of The Diplomat and the founder of Trans-Asia Inc., a Tokyo-based translation and investor relations company.


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